DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

April 29, 2008

                                                           

A Clear Vision

On the front of the Sunday Worship Bulletin at Dublin Community Church we list the ministers of the church. I get top billing because they decided to list the ministers in reverse-alphabetical order. Bill Barndt gets listed too. We list him as “Honored Pastor” and I am not certain who bestowed that title on him but it is certainly appropriate…he was honored. Still is. But, frankly, I am the one who is honored, for I get to be on the same listing as Bill Barndt!

It was nearly 20 years ago that I first came to understand what it means to be a radical peacemaker. I had a couple years “schooling” with him when I was on the Central Southeast Ohio Association “Church in the World Committee.” We dealt with topics like peace & justice issues, racial and gender awareness, handicap accessibility, hunger, and homelessness. All of those topics that make ministry and day-to-day life in this world so fascinating.

I had been in the ministry for a number of years at that point, but to sit in the same committee with Bill was like a Graduate Level course in Christianity and Justice Issues. I was quickly appointed Chair of the Committee since everyone else had already chaired it and all I had to do was try to catch my breath and try to keep up as Bill and a number of other activists on the Committee roamed across the state, nation and world coordinating their vision of a church and religion that left no injustice uncovered.

It became quickly apparent that Bill saw no barriers as to where the Christian Church should go in its quest to shed light on the marginalized of the world. National and political borders were secondary to the radical call of the Gospel to feed, clothe and visit the people of the world. Cuba, Nicaragua, the former Eastern Bloc nations…if there was a need for people to live a more full life, then Bill felt the Christian Church should be there. If the White House or State Department said that such and such a nation was our enemy, Bill saw beneath the politics and focused on the people; the children and the workers trampled on by world politics.

He had a deep love for America and an even deeper love for the promise of America which is still unrealized. Bill had the vision of what it meant to truly follow the Christ. Bill never confused our nation as the answer to all that God wants and he continually called upon America to be even better with its resources. You only prod and push that which you love.

His life was infused in every thing he did. So, I have known Bill for a number of years and I think of him standing up in his home church of Dublin Community Church of which I am the minister. People in our church who were not aware of his wide-ranging activism would smile when they recalled first hearing him stand and educate the church on medical supplies for Eastern Europe or another caravan for Pastors for Peace in Central America.

 

I suppose it was quite a shock for many who are brought up on “Jesus loves me, this I know” to have a minister charge ahead about helping the disenfranchised in Honduras. Bill did not seem to think that Jesus came to bless the status quo but to challenge it. And that often times meant that we, sitting in the pews who were ready to hop in our cars and head home, would be challenged also.

But mostly, Bill used Dublin Community Church for what it is…his home church. It is the church of his wife Laura and son Van. They are there in Row #2, pulpit side every week. He felt strongly about being anchored in a local church to hear the hymns, greet the people in the Passing of the Peace, sing the new and old hymns and listen to his home church preachers. Sunday mornings would find Bill and family in church. For the other 6 ½ days of the week, you would find Bill in the rest of the world. His faith, his mind, his love for the work of the church were racing forward to meet the challenges of a progressive Christian church, the United Church of Christ and the numerous ecumenical groups for which he was a part. His respect for and work with people of other faiths is well known.

About a year ago I was talking to Bill after church about some program that we, in Dublin Community Church were doing. Bill stood there listening. Finally, I said to Bill, “I realize what we are doing is a bit unorthodox.”

Bill stepped back just a bit. Smiled. And said, “I LIKE unorthodox!”

Thank God for that.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

****************************************************

Memorial Service Celebrating the Life of William Barndt

Thursday, May 1,  10 am
at
Dublin Community Church/
United Church of Christ
81. W. Bridge Street
Dublin, Ohio 43017
(www.dublincommunitychurch.org)

 Visitation with the Barndt Family

Wednesday April 30, 5-8 pm
at
 Dublin Community Church/UCC
AND
Immediately Following the Memorial Service on Thursday May 1 at the Church